Yoshida, a Grade 1 winner on the grass, found the main track to his liking in Saturday's $750,000 Woodward S. (G1) at Saratoga, winning the 1 1/8-mile contest by two lengths over Gunnevera.
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“Well, we got our answer,” said trainer Bill Mott of the decision to run on the dirt. “I had a wait-and-see attitude. The horse had worked well on the dirt. As I said before, he's got a lot of pedigree for the dirt. His mother won the Ballerina (G1) here and [his sire is] a son of Sunday Silence, who won two legs of the Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.”
Yoshida drew post 1 in the 14-horse field, and Joel Rosario immediately dropped his colt back off the pace as the crowded field made its way into the first turn. Tucked inside horses along the fence, Yoshida was about eight lengths from the front after a half-mile that went in :47.69.
With nowhere to go entering the final turn, Rosario moved Yoshida off the rail as he began to close in on the leaders. Stymied again midway on the turn, Yoshida was forced to go some nine-wide entering the stretch. Despite the disadvantage, the 4-year-old was full of run late and held off Gunnevera comfortably to get the distance in 1:48.94 on a fast track.
“There's a lot of people involved to say where he might run next,” Mott said of owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, SF Racing and Head of Plains Partners. “He's a Grade 1 winner on the dirt and he's a Grade 1 winner on the turf. We'll definitely talk about our options, after seeing this, the Breeders' Cup Classic would have to be on the table you'd think. He's a Grade 1 winner going a mile and an eighth on the turf. We haven't won going a mile and quarter, but after today you'd have to start thinking of his options.”
Yoshida, who won the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs in May and Belmont Park's Hill Prince S. (G3) last year, earned $400,000 on Saturday to raise his earnings to $1,289,770. His dam, Hilda's Passion, won four graded stakes in addition to the Ballerina.